Dream Recall Frequency and Unusual Dream Experiences in Early Adolescence: Longitudinal Links to Behavior Problems Academic Article uri icon


  • Unique dream patterns are related to psychopathological distress in adults. In adolescence, this was investigated almost exclusively regarding nightmares. This longitudinal study examines developmental trajectories of various adolescent-reported dream patterns, and their associations with parent-reported psychopathology (internalization and externalization problems) in early adolescence. Ninety-four 10- to 11-year-old normally developing children completed a week of sleep, dreaming, and pubertal development assessments. Parents reported behavior problems. Assessments were repeated after 1 and 2 years. Reports of unusual dreams decreased over time, and dream recall decreased among girls. Internalizing symptoms longitudinally predicted an increase in dream recall and unusual dreams. Moreover, unusual dreams longitudinally predicted increased behavior problems (internalization and externalization). Assessing dream patterns during early adolescence may help early detection of covert psychopathological distress.

publication date

  • January 1, 2013